As February slowly fades into memory, and warm spring air looms on the horizon (however distantly), we are simply overflowing with anticipation for planting time! Browsing through seed catalogs is a much-loved winter pastime on snowy evenings, huddled around the fire. Deciding which heirloom varieties we will grow is never easy- I would love to try them all!
It is important to reflect on why we grow heirloom and open-pollinated varieties in the first place. You can read about the dangers of genetically modifying plants here. If you think genetic modification does not affect you, think again. A large percentage of grocery store produce is now genetically modified, without our even knowing it, since there is no law requiring labeling of such foods. I find more and more people becoming interested in growing their own food as genetically modified crops become more prevalent, and also as the economy becomes more uncertain.
Producing your own food is a great way to become more self-sufficient, feel more secure in an increasingly insecure global economy, and to save some money! If you haven't grown a garden before, start small. Choose a few vegetables that you regularly consume, and give it a shot.
Consider purchasing heirloom and organic seeds. You will be doing yourself and your planet a favor. Buying such seed ensures that those seeds were produced in sustainable ways that built soil vitality rather than depleted it, without the use of toxic chemicals, helping to maintain a healthy ecosystem for years to come. And because heirloom seeds offer so much color, size, and shape variety, you're sure to have fun growing unique and unusual crops that will create much curiosity amongst your friends.
Some of our favorite sustainable seed suppliers are listed below. At a time when global giant Monsanto is buying up a majority of the popular seed companies, it is important to buy from one of these suppliers if you are to guarantee that you are not buying genetically modified seeds. Though there are indeed many more wonderful suppliers out there, these are a few of our favorites:
Seed Savers Exchange: http://www.seedsavers.org/
Bountiful Gardens: http://www.bountifulgardens.org/
Fedco Seed Co-op: http://www.fedcoseeds.com/
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds: http://rareseeds.com/
If you have any other great resources for heirloom seeds, please share!